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September 24, 2013

Kali Davies-Anderson: Some things I think I believe about parenting

NEW CASTLE — This was a hard week.

Every week with children and schedules and appointments is hard, but this week felt a little bit rougher than most others.

Children are glorious gifts from God, but they can also be narcissistic little blood suckers.

You can stop clutching your pearls. It is a natural thing for children to believe that the world revolves around them and is a quality that will hopefully dissipate as they grow into young adulthood.

Kids know what they want and they want it now.

As parents we make many sacrifices so that our children can feel loved, cared for and safe. However, I feel sure that many parents still feel as though they aren’t doing “enough” for their kids.

I have experienced days riddled with guilt, despair and flat-out terror that my actions (and thoughts) might be somehow scarring my kids for life.

I have only been doing this mothering thing for a few years now, but I have learned and realized some things that perhaps others might find helpful:

•It is OK to be annoyed by your child when she demands that her oatmeal be heated to a very specific and almost unattainable temperature in order for her to ingest it. Children are miniature dictators and who enjoys being under the rule of a dictator?

•Sometimes letting your children watch a little bit more television than usual is OK, especially if it means you getting to take a shower and wash your hair with both shampoo AND conditioner.

•Messes are OK as long as they get cleaned up at some point during the day. Children need to feel comfortable in their own home and express creativity — even if that means painting the fence with the remnants of a half-eaten Fudgesicle.

•Strangers who stare at your screaming child in the grocery store, all the while judging you for your seemingly poor parenting skills, are just plain idiotic. It is perfectly natural for you to hope that the cashier charges them double for their bag of grapes.

•There are no perfect parents or perfect ways to parent. Everyone walks to the beat of their own proverbial drum and children and parents are no exception.

•Don’t let the moms who can organize their kids toys alphabetically, iron pillowcases, keep kitchen floors clean enough to eat dinner off of and hold down a full-time job make you feel inferior. Parenting is about survival. If both you and your children have lived to see another day, you are doing just as good a job as the extreme multi-tasker.

•Sometimes it is OK to feed your picky eater cake for dinner. They will not grow two extra heads, flunk out of high school or become a serial killer because you occasionally fed them cake  for dinner.

•Wanting someone else to watch your kids so that you and your significant other can go out to dinner alone is not selfish. It is important to maintain the relationship that you had with that person before your children came along.

•Little white lies are OK. I grew up believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and I managed to live a fairly normal life in spite of my blind faith in the existence of these fictitious characters.

And lastly, this journey we call parenthood is not an easy one, but when your child embraces you or kisses your cheek or simply calls your name when they need support, it becomes very clear that the sleepless nights, crazy days and borderline insanity was all worth it.

 

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